Friday, September 22, 2023

Human Vibrations

By Leila Kulpas

Our scavenge for old bottles forgotten
my mother, father and I follow one another
along the river bankin the light of reared-up clouds.

Steps bounce over mulch and moss,
strands of casuarinas brush bare arms,
and low down, on trunks like cement,
cicada shells gape and glint.
Embossed with the creature's
every ridge, hollow and bump,
even tiny hemispheres of eyes,
my child's mind would shudder
at the thought of the tearing away.

When I unhook the legs,
the spines scratch, as if the empty shells
have come to life, startling my grip.
The breeze snatches them, dances them
round and round. Drops them
in unreachable crannies.
I try holding them tight,
but they crackle into flakes.

Even in our silence,
our reverence, our human vibrations frighten.
Every few feet, a water dragon
plunges into the stream up ahead.
We hurry, squint through bubbles,
glimpse its shadow.
Drifting, sinking.

The Snail, The Rooster

By Maurizio Brancaleoni

after the rain —
the saved snail
extends its horns

dawn in the suburbs —
the rooster crows
as in olden times


by Chen-ou Liu

alone with the sound
of water flowing over rocks ...
this childhood river

Zen Garden
a dragonfly's wings pat
the morning sunlight

eye of the hurricane
alone in the dark I look
into my life

Monday, September 4, 2023

Lost At Sea

By Ceri Marriott

Slave, migrant, refugee
Forced to sea, to leave
An oft-loved land of birth,
A cherished family, and dear friends -
What choice for many
On this ill-apportioned earth,
Exploitation and abuse
Still over and above free will;
And while the politicians spout their stuff,
And crooked exploiters make their bucks,
The humble fisherman
Nets not fish, instead dead children, babies are his catch
To huge, but shortlived outcry,
And a sickening racket
Which stirs again the cruel fuel
Of endless profiteering.

River Thames

By C.X. Turner

frost fairs
on the River Thames
roasting oxen

Pine Creek

 By Katharine Cristiani

800 years of Eastern Hemlocks

a cathedral of giants

until an insect 

rolled as forest fire 

charred the life out,     

centuries of canopies disappeared

August 2019 - Pennsylvania Mountain Laurel 

evergreen jewels 

except when drought 

sucks the jade out, wilted

brown-spotted, dying

March 2020 - Sycamores

white parchment rips

torn scrolls fall

wind storms extract roots 

teeth dangle from gums

July 2021 - Red Pine

burgundy mosaic bark 

cradles the forest 

soft needles crown the sun,

the chaperones of Pine Creek

watchers of clear water

of the black flies 

     who float with trout 


August 2022 - Blue Heron 

raises its leg 


the S of its neck

stabs beak into trout

June 6, 2023 - Deer

choke at dawn

when a dry peach rises 

against gray

poisoned dandelion seeds 

blown into orange haze

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Untitled Transalations II

By Stephen A. ROzwenc 


Mai ia manawa mai
ʻO ka ʻalani
ʻAʻohe mea i moeʻuhane maikaʻi

Ever since
The watermelon
Nothing has dreamed better

Untitled Translations I

By Stephen A. Rozwenc


Vuelos de colibrí
Abrir la cremallera
Nada sublime

Hummingbird flights
Sublime nothingness

Splash Of Intuition

By Jean Janicke

From a distance all is calm
at this stretch of the Hughes River.
Flat water by the far bank
reflects specks of sky shimmered
through dark bars of tree trunks.

Roots grasp the river’s edge
by the abandoned church
as branches reach across ripples
bubbled by submerged stones.

A dry leaf zig zags down, rocks
like a silent metronome, breaks
mirrored water.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Grand Reopening

Dear Plum Tree Patrons, Morgen John here.

It's 3 months to the day that my father passed away.

In his honor, we're having a grand reopening.

Will be posting 3 poems per day for the next 3 days!

Like my dad I'm a fan of the mystical, wondrous ways of nature.

Therefore, expanding the submission call for rivers, to include all bodies of water -

From puddles to ponds, to seas, angry waves & the like.  This will run to September 23rd.

The beginning of autumn approaches.

(Thanks for understanding my hiatus)

Gunnison River, Black Canyon

By Ryan Harper

At bottom they were groping for light:
such a pass a day makes across the rocks,
pale rails rolling up the twisted trunks
of junipers. People like them had warned them:
no place for the neophyte.

Hard to tell behind veils what goes down,
but the land’s higher relief is first
to vanish under secret claims; secret
combinations of people like them would clear them
from the west, for the breaking ground.

John Gunnison, layman, captain, friend
to the civilized tribes, sent dispatches;
the rapids grayed as the white day came and went
over lunch. Those who knew Zion by light
believed a glory reached its end.

The clash by night and the clash with night—
ignorant armies never know which, cause
Gambel oak, knuckled root and gneiss, to assume
martial postures. Back all this, the latter-day fear:
Zion ruled in plural, off-white.

Gunnison, at bottom you will lie:
rising schistic to the canyon rim
great columns of earth will keep watch—for the dark,
with the dark—make your peace with the hard stakes,
the rails laid up into the sky.

Piney River

By Joe Cottonwood

Just another midwest river you never heard of,
green, quiet, doing its job. We float for miles
in a johnboat. An abandoned wasp nest
hangs from the gunnel. We drift and paddle
passing limestone bluffs, cedar trees
hanging from cracks. The day is
smothering hot, Fourth of July.

Vines tangle the sky,
lilies flatten cool water.
Turtles plop. Scads of tiny fish
swirl around our paddles
as if curious, playful. Sudden mist—
a mossy waterfall. We see watersnakes
dark and diamond-backed, frogs that stare,
egrets white, herons blue,
and the lovely purple gallinules
which the guidebook says don’t live here
but in stealth they do,
all in a narrow wandering sanctuary of wildlife
wedged between farms. And here’s
a beaver lodge—in Missouri!

What we don’t see
are other human beings
until we beach at Baptist Camp
where a party of teens flying a rebel flag
play loud music from gunrack trucks
and set off fireworks, celebrating bombardment.
Nearby is Sweet Potato Cave where
peaceable farmers hid their harvest
from raiders during the Civil War.
Caves, like rivers, hold secrets.
The teens have no idea.

The Old-growth Forest Trail

by Darrell Petska

Here must waft
the tang of joy
at its simplest:

feasting saproxylics—
tiny beetles,
blooming fungi—

imparting to the flesh
of long-fallen giants
life anew.